IT has become possibly the biggest gripe for Barrow residents - rubbish dumped and left on the streets of our town while weeds continue to grow unchallenged.

Litter and overgrown weeds is one of the big issues affecting many residents in Barrow, with many calling for others to take more pride in their town.

However, as litter is dumped, sometimes even within inches of the nearest bin, the failure to clear it up in a timely fashion has led to criticisms of the council and company responsible for keeping our streets clean.

Since April, FCC Environment has been responsible for all bin collections and street cleaning services and some residents are pointing the finger in their direction, claiming they rarely see street cleaners in action.

However, one employee claimed the blame should lie with Barrow Borough Council, which has a seven-year contract with FCC.

Last week, Barrow and Furness MP John Woodcock called for more action to be taken, and has held discussions with the council's chief executive Phil Huck, who visited some of Barrow's streets for himself.

Mr Huck said: “What I saw was mainly clean and tidy back streets. I didn’t see the Wild West.

“I think people are painting this as a universally bad picture and I don’t think it is. I think litter is like Japanese Knotweed. Once you know it’s there, you go looking for it.

“I’m not saying there’s not an issue. We meet our contractor on a regular basis, and we have difficult conversations with them about their performance, and we will continue to press them to improve their performance.”

Mr Huck added that, as well as reducing costs due to government funding pressures, the new waste collection system has been designed to reduce the amount of “side waste” - additional bags left out beside bins.

He said that he was seeing big improvements in that, as well as a “very significant” increase in the amount of recycling being done by residents.

He said: “I’m not saying it’s perfect - far from it - and I’m not saying people are wrong. Of course there are problems. But I think there are good signs of improvement there.

“What I saw yesterday on my tour is a lot of residents who care very much for the areas they live in, but what I also saw was a minority who couldn’t give a bugger and are spoiling it for everyone else. It’s not a universally good or bad picture.

“Before April 1, 2017, not every back street was perfectly clean, trust me.”

Barrow Borough Council’s overview and scrutiny committee will meet next Thursday and will look at a report from the committee’s waste working group.

Committee members are due to hear about improvements expected as a result of a restructure of collections and cleansing starting from Monday July 17.